Did you see Tracey and I sharing some of our Powertex ideas on HOCHANDA on 5th/6th April? Did you get the fabulous one day special and Jurassic Jewels kits? If so then maybe you were tempted to make yourself some Powertex Ammonites using Tracey’s new sand technique and some of my jewellery.
So as promised, here are the steps and they are really simple and you don’t need to have any previous experience to get started. Here goes…
Gather together a finished Powertex Ammonite, 0.9 and 0.5 wire and beads from the Jurassic Jewels kit.
Tools: flush cutters, round nose and chain or flat nose pliers and some medium grade sand paper.
In thise project I am using a medium ammonite. I have also created it in ivory and not added pigment. If you do want colour add it before wrapping.
Use the sandpaper to gently rub off any sharp areas and smooth the back and sides of the ammonite.
Pull of 5 x 30 cm lengths of the 0.9mm wire making sure you follow the direction of the wire (this is your structural wire). Cut 1mtr of the 0.5mm (this is your wrapping wire). Use the natural cure of the coils to your advantage.
Hold all wires in your non dominant hand and keeping the wires side by side, leave approximately a 4-5cm tail and in the centre of the wires make 7 wraps on the wire bundle, keeping some tension and keeping the wire flat.
Once the wrap is complete and with both end to the inside curve of the wire, trim the ends and firmly squeeze with the chain or flat nose pliers.
Moving 22mm along from the end of the first wrap, repeat making a second 2-wraps and then repeat on the other side of the central wrap.
The wire now look like this one on the right.
Hold the ammonite and gently coax the wire around the shape of the ammonite with the central wrap opposite the outer edge as shown here.
Holding the ammonite and wire wrap firmly with your non dominant hand, use your pliers to push the wires into the right angle of the ammonite.
Gently pull forward the front wire of the anti-clockwise wires and encourage it to work into a curve stroking your fingers along its lenght, the warmth and direction from your fingers will help with this. Add 3 off the little beads and then turn a neat loop and continue to curve following the inner curves of the ammonote.
Use the front wire of the clockwise wires to make 2-3 wraps around all wires to secure.
nb: DON’T CUT ANY OF THE STRUCTURE WIRES
With your fingers or flat nose pliers and from the middle, gently pull the top outer wire just over the front endge of the ammonite on each side of the wire wrapped groupings, repeating on the back.
Try to make them as even as you can but work with the shape of the ammonite. Press firmly on the outer edges so the wires lie flat. repeat so all 4 sections are wrapped and the ammonite sits firmly within.
Next you need to bend the wires comping anti clockwise so they fit closely along the back from top edge to bottom edge where the centre wires.
Tip: I find it easier to use my flat nose pliers to turn the wire and then use the back of the plier to press down so the wire sits nice and flat.
Use some of the 0.5mm wrapping wire to secure the structure wires either side of the bottom central wrap. These structure wires will become the bale on which you will thread your cord.
Using your flat nose pliers to hold the structural wires bend the wires forwards 1cm up from the base.
Then holding the wires together bend down approx 8mm from the first bend and so that all wires are sitting over the front of the ammonite.
Leave as they are while we work on the tail wires.
The wire coming clock wise of the bottom of the ammonitte now need gently curving, these are the tail wires. Do this with your fingers, gently stroking them all together between your thumb and forefinger and in a clockwise direction.
Trim the wires so that the front wire is shortest and back wire is longest. I made mine around 8mm shorter than the one it was next to.
On the short front wire add 5 beads. Turn a loop so they don’t drop off. Continue the coil trapping a bead in the coil and leaving the others to find their own level.
Repeat this on each wire, adding 7 beads to wire 2, 9 beads to wire 3 and 11 beads to the longest wire. Trapping a few beads in the tighter coils as shown in the photo below.
Hold the wrapped ammonite in your no dominant hand and use your flat nose pliers to make a couple of bend in the rear wires, this helps give strength and tension.
You can see here where I have done a basket weave wrap on the back of the bale.
Turning to the front, trim the bale wire so the centre wire is a little longer than the other two. Turn a loop on the four outer wires.
Thread 3 beads on the centre wire and turn a loop to secure them
And that’s it!